20 Quick Team Building Activities For Small Business Leaders
Discover 20 quick team-building activities. From group calisthenics to crossword...
Team-building activities for work are a fun and effective way to build camaraderie and strong bonds in your business.
In this article, we discuss three broad categories of team-building activities for work — in-person, virtual, and leadership — as well as the specific “games” that will have everyone energized, engaged, and motivated to work together better.
As team-building activities for work go, this is an employee favorite — especially for those who work on computers all day, every day.
One way to run this game is to direct everyone to a type racing website where everyone can compete head to head (enter “type race” in your favorite search engine and check out the results).
Another option is to point your browser to a typing test website and give everyone a chance to type the same piece of text to see who’s the fastest.
This game also works well online if you manage a remote or hybrid team. For the online version, have each employee share their screen one at a time and try for the fastest WPM.
The second entry on our list of in-person team-building activities for work is the puzzle race. The instructions are super easy:
Award prizes to the team that completes the puzzle fastest. If no teams finish, count up the pieces in place to determine the winner.
This is also a fun game to play as individuals, but you might want to use smaller puzzles (i.e., fewer pieces) so team members don’t get overwhelmed.
This Or That is another of our favorite team-building activities for work because it helps team members get to know one another without the pressure of competition.
The game is a variation of the familiar “Would You Rather?” where you ask participants to decide between two options and then explain their choice.
Here are some “Would You Rather…” pairs to get you started:
Come up with your own choices to add to the list or google “would you rather” for plenty of options.
For this team-building activity, you’ll need a blindfold and several “obstacles” to navigate around (empty boxes or piles of cushions work well).
To run the game:
The team that gets to the finish line fastest wins the prize. You could also do this activity as sudden death — if a team touches any obstacle, they’re out.
Get creative with this game for a fun and easy way to promote communication, listening, and trust.
One of the simplest — but no less effective and fun — team-building activities for work is playing a few rounds of ice-breaker questions.
The nice thing about this “game” is that you don’t need any supplies, and preparation typically consists of nothing more than finding a list of questions to ask.
By the way, we’ve got you covered there, too! Check out this article from the Sling blog for plenty of questions to use at your next (and your next and your next) meeting: 200 Creative Team-building Questions To Break the Ice at Work.
Plus, running the session is super easy. Simply gather everyone together (online or in-person), explain what’s going to happen, ask a question, give people time to respond, and enjoy the fun.
This is probably the simplest option on our list of fun team-building activities for work because it takes very little preparation on your part but is still an effective way for your employees to get to know one another.
Gather everyone together online and ask questions that reveal a bit about each individual or that generate discussion around a topic.
For example, you might ask:
Want more fun questions? Check out this article from the Sling blog: 200 Creative Team-Building Questions To Break the Ice at Work.
This team-building activity requires a bit of work beforehand from both you and your team, but the results are well worth the effort.
Here’s how it works:
The activity can be run as teams or individuals, and answers can be written or oral — whatever works best for you.
You can even institute penalties for wrong guesses, set a maximum number of guesses per turn, or invent your own variations to mix things up (e.g., include a few baby pictures of famous people).
Emoji That Tune is another employee favorite on this list of team-building activities for work because, while the premise is simple, the execution leads to a lot of laughs.
Here’s how it works:
Alternatively, you, as the host, can display the emojis and challenge the team to work together to guess the title.
Before running this team-building activity, find a random date generator online (GIGAcalculator works well) and experiment with its features. Specify a date range from the birthday of your oldest team member (e.g., 1975) right up to the present.
With that tool on hand, you can gather everyone together online and either generate a new year for each person or generate one year for the whole group.
Then, ask each person to share something significant that happened to them in the year that came up. Depending on the age range of your team, some individuals may have to pass because they weren’t born yet. Just generate a new date until the year is within their lifetime.
This is also a fun activity to run in person either with slips of paper (with years written on them) or coins from the last forty or fifty years.
This virtual activity is a great way to help employees get to know one another and foster a real sense of camaraderie.
You will have to do a bit of preparation, but that just involves asking your remote employees to email you two truths and one lie about themselves.
When you ask for the information, add the caveat that the lie shouldn’t be too much of a departure from what might be plausible. “I’ve been to the International Space Station” is a much more obvious lie than, “I’ve been to Antarctica.”
It’s also very helpful to have your employees tell you which of the facts are true and which one is the lie when they send the email.
When it comes time to run the game, gather everyone online and ask one person to reveal the three “facts” about themselves (you could even grease the wheels a bit by going first).
After the three “facts” are out there, allow the rest of the group to decide which one is the lie. You may even choose to schedule in extra time for participants to ask follow-up questions of their coworkers for even more team-building interaction.
This activity will test your employees’ ability to think under pressure and give clear directions to their teammate (both good qualities for a leader).
Here’s how it works:
Once the drawing is complete (or the time limit you set expires), award points for the most accurate, the most beautiful, or the most abstract representation.
To add some fun, let the group vote on their favorites.
This leadership activity requires some space and lots of supplies, so give yourself plenty of time to prepare and get organized.
It’s called Round Table Race, but you don’t absolutely need round tables. As long as you have four separate stations where groups can work together, you’ll be good to go.
Start your preparation by creating four different complex, multi-step tasks for each station (e.g., building a small LEGO® set or assembling a presentation binder per specific instructions).
On the day of the activity, divide your employees into four teams and assign each group to one of the four tables.
Designate a leader for each group and tell them that they (the leaders) can only communicate, direct, and delegate, but they can’t actually do the work.
Begin the race and time how long it takes each team to finish. Record the results and move each team to the next table (or conclude this round and do another round on another day).
If you want to mix things up, feel free to keep the same leaders from one round to another or assign new ones each time you move.
Time all teams on all tables and the team with the lowest overall total wins.
Before running this leadership team-building activity, compile at least 20 “I am…” statements that describe various leadership qualities.
For example, you might write:
When it’s time to run the exercise, line everyone up side by side in a line facing you.
Draw a finish line about 20 steps away from the participants, and then read each “I am…” statement out loud and instruct them to take one step forward if the statement applies to them.
Continue reading statements until someone crosses the finish line (or gets close).
Periodically throughout the game, ask participants to justify, explain, or illustrate how they possess the quality you described.
For this team-building activity, you’ll need two items:
To start the game, arrange everyone in a circle and have them hold part of the rope (or ribbon or extension cord). Then, instruct them to place the rope on the floor at their feet and stand up.
Next, have them take a few steps back away from the rope and put on their blindfolds.
Finally, challenge them to come back, pick up the rope, and form a square without letting go of the rope or removing their blindfolds.
The Match Game (sometimes called Pairs) works like this:
When players make a match, instruct them to learn three interesting facts about one another.
This activity is fairly simple:
Time each attempt and add five seconds for each item dropped. The person with the fastest time wins.
As individuals or as groups, challenge your employees to make a paper airplane out of nothing but paper napkins. The airplane that flies the farthest wins the prize.
You can leave it at that for a real challenge or provide participants with extra materials (e.g., straws, tape, coffee stirrers, etc.) to make their airplanes more robust.
To make this activity as fair as possible, separate your bartenders from the rest of the group and ask them to judge the competition.
Challenge each competitor to mix the most delicious cocktail possible with only the knowledge in their head (no using the internet). To add to the fun, give everyone a sip of each drink.
The mixologist with the best cocktail wins something special. This is also a fun way to add new and unique drinks to your bar menu.
For this activity, you may want to separate your chefs and cooks from everyone else; they can be your judges.
The rules are simple:
Award prizes for tastiest treat, best presentation, cleanest workstation, or any other categories you can think of.
Like the three-legged race, this activity is best performed in pairs.
Challenge teams of two to perform some action (e.g., set a table, mix a drink, prep a plate for serving) while holding hands (team member A’s right hand to team member B’s left hand).
Time each team and add five seconds whenever they release hands. To add to the stress (and fun), position items they’ll need in distant corners of the restaurant.
The team with the fastest time wins.
With the fast pace of business these days, finding time to gather your team together to build camaraderie and strong bonds can be extremely difficult.
Sling makes that job easier with a broad set of features to help your team work effectively and efficiently, including:
Try Sling for free and experience all the benefits of a modern workforce management software suite.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit our blog today.
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This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal, tax, HR, or any other professional advice. Please contact an attorney or other professional for specific advice.